At $300 Million, This Star Wars Game Proved Too Much for Xbox to Fill the Void Left by Starfield’s Delay in 2022, Reveals Leaked Email

Published 09/20/2023, 1:13 PM EDT

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Xbox encountered a substantial gap in its software line-up when the highly anticipated game Starfield was delayed back in May 2022. Phil Spencer, Microsoft’s head of gaming, called this void “a huge hole” in the Xbox Game Pass lineup and stated that it needs to be filled up with other titles.

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A recent leak of confidential emails from Microsoft exposed a private conversation among top Xbox executives. These emails, related to Microsoft’s legal dispute with the FTC, revealed the company’s plans to procure a slew of third-party games on the day of their release for the Game Pass.

Microsoft attempted to acquire Star Wars Jedi: Survivor

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During the FTC vs. Microsoft case, many confidential documents and internal emails were leaked online. Within the leaked email thread, there was an estimation that securing EA’s Star Wars Jedi: Survivor as a day-one release on Game Pass could potentially cost Microsoft $300 million. This figure underscores the considerable financial investment needed to secure top-tier titles.

Sarah Bond, Microsoft’s VP of gaming business development, responded with a breakdown of third-party games expected to arrive in 2022 and early 2023. She assessed factors such as the expected playtime on Game Pass, the cost of bringing the game to the service, and the likelihood of securing deals with the publishers.

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The leaked emails contain a comprehensive breakdown of estimated expenses to add the various games to Game Pass.  Notable among these projections are the staggering figures of $300 million for Star Wars Jedi: Survivor and $100 million for Assassin’s Creed Mirage. These cost projections exhibit significant variations, based on factors like a game’s size and whether it would be available on the day of the release.

In addition to the cost assessments, Microsoft also considered the potential return on investment for these prospective acquisitions. It’s worth noting that the most expensive titles, including Star Wars Jedi: Survivor, were said to offer an unsatisfactory ROI. This evaluation likely played a role in their decision not to pursue these acquisitions.

Microsoft estimates for games for the Xbox Game Pass

Some games, like Suicide Squad and Mortal Kombat, were unlikely to come to Game Pass due to corporate issues at Warner Bros. Gotham Knights and Assassin’s Creed Mirage were considered more viable and cost-effective options.

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Here is a list of all the titles as well as the cost mentioned in the leaked emails.

1. Suicide Squad: $250 million
2. Mortal Kombat 1: $250 million
3. Star Wars Jedi: Survivor: $300 million
4. Assassin’s Creed Mirage: $100 million
5. Gotham Knights: $50 million
6. Dying Light 2: $50 million
7. Dragon Ball: The Breakers: $20 million
8. Lego Star Wars: $35 million
9. Wreckfest 2: $10-$14 million
10. Blood Runner: $5 million
11. Just Dance: $5 million
12. Return to Monkey Island: $5 million
13. Baldur’s Gate 3: $5 million
14. Net Crisis Glitch Busters: $5 million

Furthermore, Microsoft estimated that Take-Two, the parent company of Rockstar, might require a monthly fee of $5 million to secure the title Red Dead Redemption 2 for Game Pass. On the other hand, the company demanded a staggering 12-15 million per month for Grand Theft Auto 5.

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While Microsoft didn’t go ahead with every tile mentioned in the list above, they did pick the games that they believed were going to turn profits for them. Although these emails are from last year, Microsofts new transition of the Xbox subscriptions might change the way these deals turn out in the future.

Watch This Story: Xbox Players Will Be Able To Enjoy Starfield Anywhere They Want!

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Written by:

Viren Mirpuri

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Viren is an Esports Writer at EssentiallySports. With a Mass Media degree in one hand and a gaming controller in another, he is set to document every milestone in the gaming industry. As an Esports journalist, he has covered over 500 articles about what is fresh in the scene.
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Edited by:

Ananya Giri

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